John Muir


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In company with Mrs. Patou and Mr. Maynard, a photographer from Victoria visited the Indian S. E. end of the town, where a number of handsome carved posts are set up in front of the larger of the Indian houses. The finest of these were photographed while the steamer was discharging freight for the Cassiar mines up the Stickeen River. Gathering a few plants, I escaped back into the cabin, feeling that this was the most repulsive of all the wildcat frontier-towns I had yet seen. No house seemed to have a corner fresh enough to make it possible to spend a single nights in the town, while I could see no spot in the surrounding wilderness dry enough or free enough of suspicious Indians and Indian dogs to camp on in any comfort. In the afternoon we sailed for Sitka, lying at a distance from here of eighteen hours, 180 miles. Calling at Checan on the way for lumber, entering a beautiful bay glassy as a lake with bold mountainous shore covered with good timber and bushes above of a bright grass-green color, with now and then a mountain so steep that the snow descending into the bay in avalanches had kept it free of trees and allowed only bushes to grow. These last are often beautifully fretted with zigzags of silvery cascades. Some of these mountains on the larger islands here and all along our way have well-formed glacial wombs, and of course they also show the effects of shadows on their sculpture. Several good specimens of sheer-North and rounded-South side mountains may be seen here; also a good specimen of half dome. Glorious are the views we had of the mainland mountains with their glaciers and spiky, black peaks, mere far away glimpses but most telling to me. {Sketch: Mt. Edgecombe. To the Southwest of Sitkan – Said to have been active in ’42. }

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Original journal dimensions: 8.5 x 13.5 cm.

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist